Social scientists’ views on Covid-19 in Southern Africa (17)

“Car in Kliptown, Soweto” by PhotoAfrica (Ilan Ossendryver) / CC BY-SA 4.0, March 2016,
Illustration by Wikimedia Commons

A few weeks ago, during the Southern African Cities Studies Conference 2020, a panel organised by Alexandra Halligey (South African Research Chair in Spatial Analysis and City Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Witwatersrand) and Kristen Kornienko (Centre for Urbanism and Built Environment Studies, School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand) highlighted a very interesting initiative by the “1995”, a NGO active in Kliptown, one of the oldest residential districts of Soweto. 

This project called ‘1955 Kliptown Covid-19 initiative’, led by Thabang Nkwanyana, Robert Shai, Ginger Mahlamvu, Kristen Kornienko and Bafana Nkosi, focusses on the effects on the pandemic in this poor neighborhood through the making of documentary films. These films address the issue of the government’s absence in Kliptown during the Covid-19 response and its consequences on everyday life. Through a critical approach, they document “a moment which has shone light on the decades old, unaddressed issue of inadequate taps, toilets, electricity and high density in Kliptown, all of which have led to ongoing general poor health and made compliance with the protective Covid-19 health guidelines impossible for the residents to meet. Through visual creativity and street corner theatre the film draws together the residents’ fears, vulnerability, anger with the compelling action of a few to change their own situation.”

Here are the links to 3 videos:

For more information on this on-going project, find some details on the ‘1955’ website and in the South African press: